Reader's Blog: Climate change activism will cool with age

After watching some young people interviewed on the Late Late Show, who are determined to make climate change activism their latest campaign, I discussed with my teenage granddaughter if she supported the laudable actions of her peers in missing valuable school classes to go on such protest marches in which they wished to highlight our Government’s inactivity in preventing global warming — a schoolkids’ strike which incidentally has the support of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar himself.

Of course she did! Then I put forward an idea. Every student of her school and schools across the country would sign a promise to “never drive a car or travel in an aeroplane during their lifetime”, to save the environment for future generations.

My granddaughter then told me she intended to own an electric car — when she could afford one — as part of her contribution to the wonderful cause of climate action.

I pointed out that electric cars take seven years to become carbon neutral (due to the manufacturing process and delivery logistics) and as well as having difficulty in disposing of their batteries after their limited useful life, at present the electric cars on Irish roads use around 70% of electricity for their daily battery charging which is produced from carbon-fired power station sources (ie, non-wind generated or renewable power).

As for the teenagers signing the “carbon-free life” form I proposed; When they reach an age when they feel they can no longer keep a pledge to live a carbon-free life (as with a no-alcohol confirmation pledge many of them had also sworn to adhere to), at least they can reflect on their older-self hypocrisy during their later life, regarding the Save the Planet campaign those same people had become earnestly involved in, back in the day.

Tom Baldwin


Co Cork

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